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The ultimate meaning of life is to embrace that which compels you to act in spite of fear.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

The Children of 1964

Generalizations are seldom acceptable as conclusions, but they are often useful as starting points for discussion. Sometimes, however, I find it hard not to accept a conclusion when my observations point to it so strongly.

My previous post reminded me of a discussion I once had with a friend of mine. We had asked ourselves what may seem a rather odd question: Who the hell are the people born in 1964?

I have many friends who were born that year. My older brother is a 1964 baby. I've worked with a few 1964-ers. And yet they remain somewhat of an enigma.

These people seem to have no pop culture patterns about them whatsoever. Some love the Beatles. Some love punk. Some love both the Beatles and punk. Some love neither. They're elusive. Each does his or her own thing. They don't talk much. Though it doesn't appear they're trying to be mysterious; they simply don't seem to give a damn about generational categorizations, even though for decades now demographers have tagged them on to the tail end of the baby boom (which always struck me as odd and inaccurate).

But maybe there are commonalities.

I will say this about the 1964 people I know. They rarely complain. They don't struggle with their identity. At least not publically. They aren't easily impressed. They reject groupthink. They do their own thing whether you like it or not, and they do it with determination and stealth. They do not and will not buckle or bend over for anyone. Ever. And they don't buy your bullshit. They don't buy my bullshit. They won't buy this post! They don't even buy their own bullshit, if they have any! They are some of the toughest and most independent people I've ever had the pleasure of knowing.

Two quotations: "I've never met a man I was afraid of" and "Go down with nothing less than blood pumping from your ears."

These words were spoken by two different men, both born in 1964. Family men.

Hey, I can only tell you've what I've seen and heard.

Though some big things happened in 1964 -- the Beatles were on The Ed Sullivan Show, the movie Goldfinger was released, the Toronto Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup, Lyndon B. Johnson was re-elected, Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life in prison, the Civil Liberties Act was passed in the U.S., and Muhammed Ali became the heavyweight champion of the world -- we don't hear much about the people who were born that year.

Clive Owen was born in 1964. Need I say more? He didn't want the role of James Bond. How 1964 is that?

See how I invoke the name of a movie star to make my point? Someone born in 1964 wouldn't do that. Wouldn't even consider it. He or she would make their point with steely-eyed clarity, and then move on.

If we are ever attacked, don't send our young adults. Send in the boys and girls of 1964. The enemy won't stand a chance.

Actually, I think the 1964 babies are a little crazy. I mean that in a good way.

So here's to the people of 1964. Wherever you are.

Whoever you are.

P.S. Read this post by Philly Markowitz.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was born in 1964 and everything I read seems to fit me to well but i didnt realize there were others like me out there and I,m sure my family would agree thanks for your personal research very interesting

11:05 PM  
Blogger oakwriter said...

Hello, and thanks for visiting. I appreciate your comments. When I first posted this piece, a few 1964 babies emailed me directly, saying they could relate to what I was saying. Interesting. Thanks again.

6:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Greetings from Australia! Great article from someone born in'64. Spot on in every way.

5:36 AM  
Blogger oakwriter said...

Hello in Australia, and thanks for your comments. Good to see that my thoughts ring true with you at the other side of the planet! By the way, I spent 4 months backpacking around and through Australia after university. Great country. What an experience!

9:25 PM  
Anonymous Whatever said...

I was born 1964, in California....
I think a lot that has to do with "us", is that we were the first to change the mold the boomers left for us. For me, my impact was with CAD and then the web. We seem to be "anti-hype" types, we see through the B.S. We are in the middle of a middle that's hard to see. Are we Gen-X? Maybe not, but we started it. Are we Boomers? No, but we ended that. Are we "Tweeners"? Whatever..... Who are we? This might help, so, yes, I'll name names here:

Born in 1964:
Adam Corella - The Man Show
Buzz Osborne - Frontman for The Melvins
Calista Flockhart - Actor, Ally McBeal
Chris Cornell - Soundgarden frontman
Chris Farley - Actor - SNL fame
Courteney Cox - Actor Friends
Courtney Love - Musician, Actor
Dana Plato - Actor, Kimberly on Diff'rent Strokes
Dave Pirner - Frontman for Soul Asylum
David Cross - Actor - Comedian - Mr. Show
David Spade - SNL fame
Diana Krall - Jazz vocalist
Eddie Vedder - Lead singer, Pearl Jam
Glen Beck - Fox News
Greg Lisher - Camper Van Beethoven guitarist
Hank Azaria - Actor - The Simpsons-voices
Janeane Garofalo - Actor
Jeff Hanneman - Musician, Slayer lead guitarist
John Leguizamo - Actor, Comedian
Keanu Reeves - Actor
Kerry King - Musician, Slayer guitarist, lyricist
Laura Linney - Actor, Tales of the City
Lenny Kravitz - Musician, vocalist
Lucky Dube - Singer
Mark Lanegan - Musician, Screaming Trees frontman
Mary-Louise Parker - Actor, The West Wing, Weeds
Matt Dillon - Actor
Matthew Sweet - Musician
Maynard James Keenan - Musician, Tool vocalist
Melissa Gilbert - Actor
Michael J. Nelson - Second host of MST3K
Michael McDonald - MADtv
Molly Shannon - SNL fame
Nicolas Cage - Actor
Rob Lowe - Actor
Russell Crowe - Actor
Shepard Smith - Fox News
Stephen Colbert - Comedian
Tavis Smiley - PBS, The Tavis Smiley Show
Tom Morello - Rage Against the Machine, Guitarist
Tracy Chapman - Singer

If you want to dig deeper, look for, born in 1964 and:
Left handed or ambidextrous
Youngest or only child of the family
Free spirited
Bipolar and/or Attention Deficit Disorder
Old school Punk, Raves/Ecstasy
Self employed
Have had many sexual partners
Likes to travel.
Your worst enemy or your best friend.
So honest, it hurts.

2:09 PM  
Blogger oakwriter said...

Hello Whatever,

Thanks for your post. You make some interesting points. We (even though I'm a 1966 baby) are what I often call the "shadow" generation - or rather, the generation in the shadows. Both descriptions apply, I think. We're never far but often out of sight and hard to track ... and therefore hard to understand.

6:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah interesting, I'm a '64 kid, I kind of think we are between the old world and the modern world. Most of the music I love happens from the mid 60's on [not counting classical stuff]We are traditional and modern as well, someone used the image of shadows, I think its a good image really. We are cynical enough about systems and power and strcuture and yet know some of these are necessary to run things unfortunately. Born in 64 means when we were growing up in the 70's and even 80's we didn't really get what had just happened in western culture, ie. social revolutions stuff, we had to learn about it later and go "I missed that." Now we are mid 40's and in another revolution the technology one, everyting is so different from watching the Brady Bunch or Little House On The Praire as a kid, no videos, etc if you missed the episode, then damn it you just missed it. John, Newcastle, Australia.

6:28 AM  
Blogger oakwriter said...

Hello, anonymous in Newcastle, Australia. Thanks for your comments. It's interesting you refer to others using the term "shadow" to describe our generation. (Though I was born in 1966, I have good friends and a brother born in 1964.) I would say those of us born around the mid-1960s are, as you say, between the old world and the new. I know exactly what you mean.


2:41 PM  
Blogger Kujo said...

I am kujo and I'm also a child of 1964. I still play records on a turn table but I also have an Ipod. I identify with music from the 60's, 70's, 80' and 90's. I feel like the world forgot me and I had to build my own identity. This has allowed me to be the person I want to be. I don't feel the pressure of being pigeoned holed into any specific niche.

2:04 PM  
Blogger oakwriter said...

Hi Kujo,

Thank you for your comment. Well said. And what you say rather supports my idea about not buying into to ready-made identities.

I like hearing about people are are being true to themselves.

Take care,


8:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's my profile:

I was born on July 21, 1964. I can't stand babyboomers! I hated being lumped in with those Beatle-loving mindless hippies.

I'm a Conservative Republican and strong 2nd Amendment Rights advocate. Own a gun and be free or die a slave - it's all up to you. I have been a Conservative Republican since the time I registered to vote in High School and have voted in ever election since then. I campaigned for Mitt Romney in the last election and begrugingly voted for John McCain - Anyone but Obama!!

The change in my musical tastes over the years: Age 12 - liked top 40 radio; Age 16 - listed to 60's heavy metal; Age 19 - listened to punk and underground metal; Age 22 - still liked punk/metal and also reggae. Age 30 - liked ska and surf-punk still some thrash-metal and surf-instrumental. Age 40 - Bluegrass and some country and surf instrumental and some 50's music.

College graduate.

Family is important to me - married at age 34 and still married - don't believe in divorce.

Never did drugs. Still drink a couple of beers on the weekend.

Own my own business. Have invested in stock market, real estate and my own business ventures. Not into working 9-5 for some Pimp employer.

I highly respect those who have bravely served our country in the Military.

I am quite computer and internet literate. However, I hate cell phones, can't text and don't want to text with anyone (sets me apart from the "younger" generation).

I love motorcycles, but not Harleys, although I can appreciate a well done custom Harley, I'd never own one - I'm more of a Boss Hoss kind of guy. Too many posers ride Harleys. You can never have too much speed and power in the throttle.

Live hard and die old - squeeze everything you possibly can out of life, and then some. Be free and tell the Nanny State Socialist drones to F-Off.

Oh, and love your family, your wife and your children like you may lose them tomorrow.

That's my profile - a genuine 1964'er

2:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you'll find some good answers when you look at the Chinese astrology. 1964 was the year of the Dragon which shows the following traits.


The key to the Dragon personality is that Dragons are the free spirits of the Zodiac. Conformation is a Dragon's curse. Rules and regulations are made for other people. Restrictions blow out the creative spark that is ready to flame into life. Dragons must be free and uninhibited. The Dragon is a beautiful creature, colorful and flamboyant. An extroverted bundle of energy, gifted and utterly irrepressible, everything Dragons do is on a grand scale - big ideas, ornate gestures, extreme ambitions. However, this behavior is natural and isn't meant for show. Because they are confident, fearless in the face of challenge, they are almost inevitably successful. Dragons usually make it to the top. However, Dragon people be aware of their natures. Too much enthusiasm can leave them tired and unfulfilled. Even though they are willing to aid when necessary, their pride can often impede them from accepting the same kind of help from others. Dragons' generous personalities give them the ability to attract friends, but they can be rather solitary people at heart. A Dragon's self-sufficiency can mean that he or she has no need for close bonds with other people.

5:15 PM  
Blogger isnap said...

Mark Tarr-DOB 17/07/1964.

6:26 AM  
Blogger oakwriter said...

isnap, I'm not sure if you're commenting on my original post or on the astrological material. I would prefer it directed a me than at another visitor to my blog. Either way, you are 1964.

5:09 AM  
Anonymous Nick...not so anonymous :) said...

I've often wondered about this alone feeling I always had. Never thought of correlating it to the year I was born. The feeling of being so different.

I've grown to be ok with it, and even embrace it. But after reading the article and the comments, I have to say that I can see where the cultural difference and changes at that time could have participated.

I am different, I don't make excuses for it (not anymore We came into the world with war, grew up through it and it's major cultural changes where the generations split.

It was a time of not only combat of war but combat of culture itself. An impasse of who we are, what we are and how we want to be. Very few agreed. It's this where we had to decide who we were.

Some decided to continue the ways of the cultural revolution, some grew to see they needed to step above it. Soon there were so many directions to be chosen from we scattered and yet never left at all.

Some like me had been kind of stuck inside trying to get the inside to meet what what happening outside and never could. I was, I am and will continue to be me...even if you don't like it.

The bottom line, and a good point of your article is, We don't have to be a part of what was or what is or what someone thinks should be. WE are! and if that's not good for whomever...then kiss us on the smooth side and have a great day :)

7:22 AM  
Blogger sundar said...

you know it's like random sampling method in statistics, all those desperate PhDs wanting to substantiate the findings that they have conjured up, in pursuit of a posh office. I do agree with one thing, there's a bit of both old world and new world charm in them; but they are not easy to fall for fads, because they were and are busy creating them. Neither do they breath evangelic hell fire nor do they fall hard for a left of center godless attitude.

2:07 AM  

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